A change in how Grays Harbor Community Hospital operates could bring extra funding

Grays Harbor Public Hospital District #2, running Grays Harbor Community Hospital(Community), currently operates as a 140-bed Sole Community Hospital. As of October 1, they are changing this designation to be labeled as a 49-bed Sole Community Hospital.

“As health care costs rise and legislation continues to be uncertain, it has become imperative that Grays Harbor Community Hospital (GHCH) make changes to the organization for its long-term viability. We are well aware that Grays Harbor County’s primary care needs are not being fully met and take seriously our responsibility to assist in meeting the community’s primary care needs.”

A Sole Community Hospital is defined as a facility that meets certain criteria, which include being located in a rural area, certain distances away from other hospitals, and having fewer than 50 beds.

Community has 140 beds currently, being used within long term care, emergency, birthing, and other areas of the hospital.

By changing the way that they operate, and using only 49 beds for overnight patient care, and the remaining 91 beds for observation, they are eligible to reclassify themselves.

This designation allows the hospital to be reimbursed by Medicare under their Inpatient Prospective Payment System differently than if they were in a metropolitan area or remained larger than 50 beds.

According to Nancee Long, Public Relations Director for the hospital, this change in terminology will bring no significant changes to the day-to-day operation of the facility. She tells KXRO that as they operate now, they rarely go over the 49 bed limit. If that instance came up, in a flu epidemic or other instance, they would refer to other facilities for the overflow, but she says that it is a rare occurrence.

Long says that changing to the 49-bed Sole Community Hospital instead of a 140-bed Sole Community Hospital will not mean that beds will actually leave the building;

“No bed are being cut. Just a different designation.”

As far as jobs by dropping the 140 cap;

“No positions lost. Nothing else changes.”

When asked what financial impact this could bring, Long told KXRO that;

“The change could result in an estimated $2.5-3 million dollar change for the hospital.”

Currently, as described by CEO Tom Jensen to KXRO, the hospital currently receives a portion of their cost back for patients on Medicare. This means that the hospital loses money whenever a patient uses the federal insurance.

Moving to a Public Hospital designation allowed Community to receive a higher portion of that reimbursement.

Changing the designation to a 49-bed Sole Community Hospital would mean that Medicare would now be on a “cost-based reimbursement”. This means if the hospital has a $1000 bill to Medicare, the hospital would receive $1000 instead of the portion of that bill as it does currently.

In statements from the hospital, they say that the vast majority of their patients are using the federal insurance.

Community said in a release that the new cost-based reimbursement would allow them greater ability to recruit and retain primary care providers.

“In short, becoming a 49-bed Sole Community Hospital allows us to build primary care and increase health care access for those in our community.”

Long told KXRO that the hospital will begin to use the new designation and the procedures associated with it, including new signage on rooms to designate which are meant for inpatient and which are meant for observation, starting on October 1.

While the hospital will operate as the new designation starting in October, the official designation will only be after federal agencies review and approve the change, which could take 1-2 years or more.



The following is a list of questions and answers provided by the hospital; 


What does this change mean to the providers?

  • Providers will continue to deliver the highest quality of care to their patients.
  • Admitting patients to hospital inpatient care will require that the provider work more closely with house supervisors. 

What does this change mean to the staff members?

  • Those involved in registration, nursing, billing, house supervisors and HIM will have new protocols. 

Does this mean we are a Critical Access Hospital like Summit Pacific?

  • No, we will remain a Sole Community Hospital as designated by state and federal guidelines. 

What can I say to those who don’t work at GHCH or HMG about this process?

  • We are still providing the same, high-level, quality of care to our patients but adapting our model for optimal federal and state reimbursement benefits.
  • This will not affect our ability to provide inpatient acute care. 

What does this mean for HarborCrest?

  • We will still provide detox service but may move from an inpatient program to a residency program like other hospitals of our size. We are working closely with providers to solidify these details. 

What if we go over our 49-bed allowance?

  • GHCH West Campus averages daily inpatient census for 2016 was 31. This is well under the limit of 49 beds.
  • Observation patients do NOT count toward the 49-bed allowance.
  • We will divert to other area hospitals if we were ever to reach the 49-bed limit. 

When will this take place?

  • As of Oct. 1, 2017, we will be operating as a 49-bed Sole Community Hospital.

The post A change in how Grays Harbor Community Hospital operates could bring extra funding appeared first on KXRO News Radio.

Powered by WPeMatico